Saving some time by taking the shortest route from Qingdao to Dalian
Today we drove from Yantai to Qingdao for about 3 hours and we will take the ferry to Dalian instead of driving around the Bohai bay 渤海湾.
There are several ferries from Yantai to Dalian from three different ports and we chose the night ferry so that we could have a good sleep on board.
Luckily we found out that at the highway service station we also can buy the ferry tickets in advance for our car. Since our car and trailer will take two slots due to the length, we have to pay for two places, and each cost 600RMB. That will save us one day’s driving time around Bohai bay. It is a safe way to book the tickets in advance than buying them on-site, as you may face the situation that the position has been sold out in the peak season.
The passenger tickets are separately paid accordingly, and we got the tickets at the last moment at the harbor, and someone delivered them to us personally.
Entering the ferry
Here it starts to get interesting. It was total panic and un-organized at the harbor and someone needed to make the decision should our vehicle go thru passenger car ar or truck lane. In the end, the security manager decided we need to go thru the truck lane. Before entering the line, we needed to remove and leave our full 10kg gas bottle as anything that can be regarded as dangerous goods is not allowed to be brought on the ferry.
As usual, our tickets take a very long time with checking of passports/visas/latest entry to China and other questions
My wife and children needed to go the route for the passengers and I needed to drive the car to the ferry. Saying bye to my wife/translator, I knew this will be interesting. Hope to see you tomorrow
Even I have lived in China for many years my Chinese language skills are almost zero and the port workers’ English skills were the same as my Chinese skills. Going thru the x-ray I did not understand I should step outside the whole building during the scanning and after workers waiving enough with their hands, I understood the point.
Following the big ones with my little caravan. It was amazing even how unorganized it felt and looked, nobody was left on the shore. The internal ferry traffic in China is checked as you would come from another country, more or less as customs. Many different types of security checks were performed and your documentation was verified in several stages.
After this getting ready and waiting in line get on board. There were two ferries and didn’t even know which one to drive into. Consulted my wife by phone and she said that I should drive the car to the other ferry and walk from there to the one she is taking.
The port worker was asking me several times for an “inspection document” and I had no idea what that is. Later on, found out that those who go through the x-ray will not receive the document. On the other hand, the passenger cars are inspected by a person and would receive an “inspection document”.
In my case, I have to separate pick it up from the harbor office, where all truck drivers get it. Walking into the office, and they did not have any clue why I’m there as I don’t have a truck. After some long discussion with Google Translate, someone got a great idea that maybe I drove thru the x-ray and they should provide me the document.
After receiving it everything went smoothly and I managed to drive to the correct ferry, not the one my wife have advised in the beginning. They did some small security check before driving in and almost jumped up as the caravan have one 5L fixed diesel tank with some diesel in it for the Webasto heater. They tried to pull it out but soon realized that it is fixed. After short rolling their eyes moment of what he should do, he let me go.
Realized very soon after entering the ferry this is no luxury cruise. Unfortunately, we don’t have many pictures from inside but I can ensure this is just a ferry taking you from point A to point B. Cabins very basic, four beds and no possibility for locking the doors, for safety as understood. One restaurant with basic noodles and the supermarket had drinks and some chips +toilet paper. Someone is making also doing business as the cabins did not have toilet paper.